The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music news: Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras to hold an open rehearsal Saturday morning in Madison at the University of Wisconsin. To foster music education, WYSO partners with underserved and disadvantaged children in Music Makers.

October 27, 2011

By Jacob Stockinger

These are hard times for schools and especially for arts programs, what with all the budget cuts that lead to staff cuts and program cuts.

We have all the more reason, then, to support an organization like the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras and its mission to bring classical music to young people and young people to classical music.

To learn more, visit WYSO’s home website:

WYSO has two newsworthy items worth covering:


On this Saturday, Oct. 29, music students, families, and teachers are invited to come and see what WYSO has to offer at the Fall Open Rehearsal.

The event will begin at 10 a.m. with a meet and greet featuring breakfast snacks in the Strelow Lounge of the UW’s Mosse Humanities Building, 455 North Park Street.

Guests will be able to talk with WYSO staff and parents of current members, and will get a chance to tour WYSO’s four orchestras in rehearsal. After the tour, guests will have an opportunity to speak with current WYSO members in a Q&A session.

Since 1966, WYSO has been providing excellence in musical opportunities for more than 5,000 young people in southern Wisconsin. WYSO includes three full orchestras and a string orchestra, a chamber music program, a harp program, a percussion ensemble, and a brass choir program.

The orchestras rehearse on Saturday mornings during the academic year, perform three to four public concerts per season, and tour regionally, nationally and internationally.

The Youth Orchestra (below) will tour to Prague, Vienna and Budapest in July 2012 and has toured to Canada, Japan, Scotland, Spain, France, Colorado, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. in the past.

For more information or to RSVP, call (608) 263-3320 ext. 11.

In other news:


This fall, a group of young musicians from Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras has established a new collaborative project with the Madison Music Makers (bel0w), a group founded in 2007 by Bonnie Greene to provide free or low-cost music lessons to economically disadvantaged children at three community centers in the area.

Through this collaboration, high school age members of WYSO’s top level Youth Orchestra will serve as mentors and musical guides to the Music Makers students, modeling accomplished musical skills, inspiring continued participation in music lessons, and introducing the students to the educational opportunities available on a university campus.

This project, funded in part by a grant from the Kiwanis Club of Downtown Madison, will allow both WYSO and Music Makers members to engage with each other at their respective rehearsal locations, the Mosse Humanities Building on the UW-Campus, and Centro Hispano on Madison’s south side.

Music Makers members and their families will attend the Youth Orchestra’s Fall Concert on Nov. 13 as special guests of the WYSO program. For several of these children, this will be their first live concert experience.

In February, advanced students of the Music Makers program will participate in an audition workshop, led by Youth Orchestra members, to help the children prepare for an audition into WYSO’s string orchestra, Sinfonietta.

“WYSO is grateful to the Kiwanis Club of Downtown Madison for their support of our efforts to mentor economically challenged young musicians in our community,” Bridget Fraser (below top), WYSO’s executive director, said of the project. “We know that this partnership will enrich the lives and musical pursuits of both WYSO and Music Maker students for years to come.”

But of course, all this praise-worthy work takes funding. And a recent story on NPR about how large arts organizations are doing OK in fund-raising, but smaller ones need help, came to mind as I thought about WYSO and its future:

And The Ear says you can’t find a more deserving investment in the future of classical music than WYSO.

Posted in Classical music

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